This is the new Audi badge - spot the difference if you can. Apparently it's supposed to have a slightly “3D” appearance compared with the old one. But while this latest alteration is rather boring, the basic four-ring emblem itself has an interesting history.
Strictly speaking, Audi was originally represented by only one of the four rings. The others refer to the now defunct pre-war marques – Horch, DKW and Wanderer – that joined with Audi to form Auto Union in 1932. After 1945, the four ring badge was kept but only the Auto Union and DKW brands were used on Auto Union's cars, although these were both retired when the Audi badge was revived in 1965, shortly before Auto Union was taken over by Volkswagen.
Occasionally it has been rumoured that Horch could be brought back to life as a prestige car brand in the way that Maybach was by Mercedes, but this seems unlikely now that Volkswagen owns Bentley and Bugatti. More recently, it as been suggested that Auto Union could be adopted as the umbrella corporate name of the Volkswagen group. If the same “one ring per company” principle were to be adopted as for the original 1932 logo, no less than eight or nine rings would now be required, depending on whether the truck-maker Scania is included and assuming Porsche enters the Volkswagen fold as planned.